What is m-commerce?
You don't have to follow the latest technology news to know that mobile commerce is gaining popularity at a dizzying pace. For years now, this way of shopping has been in demand among customers. The m-commerce sales has increased over 22.3% of the total sales reported for 2020. So let's find out what exactly m-commerce is and why the above is happening.
Mobile commerce is one of the components of e-commerce (online commerce) which has moved to mobile devices. Explaining e-commerce, it allows you to make purchase transactions through modern internet technologies. Most people already know it and use it, even on a daily basis. M-commerce focuses on the same thing with the use of smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices.
There are different types of mobile commerce but in this article we’ll focus on B2C (Business to Customer) relations.
New habits of users
Buying online has even become our habit, because some purchases don’t require in-depth research. Many of us just re-order things from our favourite stores. More and more shops even decide to close their stationary points of sale in favour of doing business online. And this online selling has now moved to mobile commerce. We write about different reasons why it’s worth investing in mobile commerce here. The use of m-commerce accounts for 72.9% of e-commerce sales and is growing every year. This should be convincing enough.
Reasons why mobile commerce is so popular
So m-commerce is now way more favored. Why? People changed their habis over the years — now buying via handheld devices is way more popular than shopping online with a computer.
We mostly work on laptops or desktops, so after work we’re glad to do shopping with one hand, sitting on a couch or on the way home. So it’s simply convenient. As technology has developed, we have come to appreciate this convenience more and more. Even location based services are now ordered via mobile commerce.
Mobile marketing has something to do with it too. When we see an advertisement on social media we just click on it and buy directly from mobile phones. Instead of looking for the product from the ad on a different device we can just take advantage of the discount through the phone.
Another reason can be the pandemic. Mobile commerce has increased a lot because of this. It’s a fact. But does this mean that after the pandemic we’ll stop using our mobile devices to do shopping? That’s unlikely taking recent statistics into account. Because of the above. It’s just too convenient and simple for people to stop using it. It is not only the technologically savvy who appreciate the flexibility and speed of shopping this way. Forecasts make it clear that the popularity of mobile commerce will only grow.
Voice commerce — a new branch of e-commerce
Besides m-commerce, there’s also a new branch of e-commerce which is called voice or conversational commerce. We wrote about it here.
Voice commerce is what makes online shopping even easier and more agreeable. You can purchase things online using just your voice and compatible smart wireless devices. So all you need to have is a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker and Internet connection.
You don’t even need your hands to order something and pay for it. Yes, implementing product browsing could be problematic in voice commerce but it’s still an amazing solution for those who value time and want to save some effort.
How to use its popularity?
Lots of business owners have already taken advantage of the growing popularity of m-commerce and made huge profits. How? Having an online shopping website, you’ve actually got at least two options. Take both into consideration and decide which is better for you.
Building a new mobile app
You can create a mobile app which will reflect the website features i.e. will enable customers to shop in the app. M-commerce applications have become very well-liked in recent years, especially among teenagers and young people. That’s mostly because in fact any applications are more popular among them.
It’s no secret that downloading tons of apps is a trend nowadays. We’ve got mobile apps for everything and it’s favorable. That is what user-friendly means — to provide your users with features they need.
When you should do it
So creating an app is an option, but keep in mind that first you have to check if it’s going to be useful for customers. If the target group is young people, then implementing m-commerce solutions should be a priority, as statistics show that they are the most frequent users of m-commerce services. According to 2018 statistics the Millennials (18-34 age group) have the highest frequency of using an app per day in the USA. Teenagers are in second place for using apps on a mobile device.
Adjusting the website to mobile conditions
That’s the second option for those who don’t want to create a new app for m-commerce.
If you want to sell your products and services in an efficient way, you need to make your site easy to use. That’s a rule number one of great customer experience and it’s essential to gain profits.
As mobile shopping is so popular nowadays, if you don’t have an app, it’s just necessary to have a website that satisfies the users of mobile devices.
What if it’s too hard?
Sometimes it might turn out that your website can’t be developed in a way that would help to adjust it to mobile conditions. It can happen for example if it was built using technologies that are no longer supported or developed. In this case you might have to create a brand new website for your business.
Your customers will remember their shopping experience and come back if their purchase was easy and fast. Failing to meet their requirements can bring you loss.
It’s never a waste of time or money to invest in your website/mobile app development as long as you have customers or a good idea to attract them. You have to meet their expectations to make them stay or to win new ones.
How to improve mobile commerce in your store
As it’s already established, mobile shopping has to be easy and convenient in the first place. So if shopping on your website/in your mobile app is problematic e.g. because of errors displaying on screen or stuttering feature, you need to get rid of these problems.
Add new things
You should always look for new ways of making it even more pleasant for customers to browse your store and buy from it. Even if everything works just fine, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. I’m not saying you have to be up to date with all the tech news from the world. It is worth watching the most recognisable e-commerce players on the market - Ikea, Zalando, Amazon… They are the ones who change consumers' habits with their new shopping solutions. Another great idea is to simply listen to your audience — customers, and provide them with useful features answering their needs. Then, the team building your solution will help you to analyse the ideas and implement them.
Answer your customers’ needs
Your clients might be happy to share their thoughts. Look for them on social media, in mobile stores (if you have an m-commerce app), in emails maybe. There are many different ways to know your users’ opinions. You should even encourage them to share some feedback e.g. by sending notifications, emails and by in-app actions.
The team can help you follow the latest trends so you can develop your business in an efficient way. To give you an example, we were responsible for mobile app development for Corner, where we implemented the feature enabling live streaming. Customers can buy things directly from the stream carried out by influencers. That’s what’s called following the latest trends.
In another mobile app we managed to implement an AR module enabling customers to see the products in 3D before buying. Plants&Pots gives customers the possibility to see plants in their real size. We’ve developed the AR module in this Flutter app especially for the store’s customers to make it more enjoyable for them to buy there.
Mobile commerce is all about making it easy for customers to shop at your store. The easier it is, the more customers you gain and the happier they are using your website or app. A great example of this could be Amazon’s ‘1-Click’ Ordering thanks to which "instead of manually inputting billing and shipping information for a purchase, a user can use one-click buying to use a predefined address and credit card number to purchase one or more items." This gave their customers great convenience when buying online and made them come back for more.
Different payment methods offered to customers are always important. We all have various habits. One customer prefers to pay by bank transfer, another is looking for easier and quicker ways. Using mobile wallets has become very popular, for example. Google Pay and Apple Pay have been around for years now and are doing very well as convenient solutions for all mobile users. Some clients also want to choose payment by instalments.
The thing is, no customer will abandon the products in the cart if they get the choice. Unless they just decide to save money hearing the voice of reason at the last moment.
No security issues with all mobile payment options
Companies give their customers the possibility to make payments in so many ways that it’s hard to complain. And having an e-commerce business you should do it too. It’s really appreciated by customers. They come back to do shopping at the same store because the payment was just like they wanted.
Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about the security of these payments. Mobile payment systems are ready-made solutions that developers implement in the app/platform. Before any of these options were available, they were created with due care so that developers don’t have to implement any additional security features.
Nevertheless, you should choose well-known and common payment systems, which will give you security, so that you and your customers are not exposed to any kind of fraud.
Pros and cons of mobile commerce
Mobile commerce is definitely worth considering for people running e-commerce businesses. But it also has its disadvantages. Let’s dig into pros and cons to make it easier to decide whether you should focus on this idea of expansion or not.
Advantages of m-commerce
- Enables easy and convenient online shopping through a smart device which can result in an increase in number of customers and revenue
- Gives rise to new trends such as Voice Commerce and Artificial Intelligence
- Through an online shop you can reach a large number of customers from many different areas, and not only locally as in the case of a stationary shop
- It can be highly personalized thanks to the customer actions tracking e.g. by using recommendation engines that learn from previous purchases and propose exactly what a user might need
- Making payments by mobile devices is safe because of integrated secure mobile payments systems
- Provides a great customer experience and as a result — greater profit
- Enables direct communication with customers e.g. with notifications and chatbots which can lead to greater customer loyalty
- Enables better marketing activities through implemented analytics on the website or in the app.
Disadvantages of m-commerce
- There’s a need to implement proper logistics and to use the help of suppliers. When partly relying on external companies you do not have total control over the purchasing process
- You have to keep up with technology trends, which change rapidly (e.g. smartphone operating systems are updated and you need to implement new features etc.)
- Mobile payments are dependent on external systems and will scare customers away if they do not work properly so it's important to choose reliable and tested solutions.
The future of mobile commerce
The future of m-commerce is highly predictable when it comes to its successfulness. As mobile commerce is on fire now, it will most probably become even more popular. However, it may undergo certain modifications and be subject to various trends.
For example, m-commerce can be improved by voice recognition, augmented reality, chatbots and livestreams. These trends are already in use but it's not hard to foresee that they’ll become more and more favored.
Companies constantly find new ways to reach their customers — mostly through social media which have the widest reach. There is no reason to assume that customers will move away from this convenient method of shopping.
So having an e-commerce business, if you’re thinking whether you should invest in m-commerce or not, don’t hesitate anymore.
M-commerce is definitely a topic that everyone offering online shopping should explore. The most important thing is the user convenience because the easier it is to make purchases in your shop, the more customers you gain and the more often they choose to buy there.
Take advantage of the popularity of m-commerce and make your shop mobile-friendly, it will definitely pay off.
Now that you know what mobile commerce is, you can move to the biggest challenges and solutions for mCommerce in 2021 to prepare to hit the market.
You can also read about one of the most popular trends coming from mobile commerce - Voice Commerce.